Oxford University scientists create ‘brain-like’ microchip
29 Sep 2017
A team of researchers at the University of Oxford has created a microchip designed to mimic the way the human brain stores and processes information.
The researchers say the breakthrough could pave the way for a new age of computing, where machines work and think in a similar way to the human brain, while at the same time exploiting the speed and power efficiency of photonic systems.
A full account of the research has been published in the journal Science Advances.
Harish Bhaskaran, professor in the department of materials at Oxford University, said: “The development of computers that work more like the human brain has been a holy grail of scientists for decades.
“Via a network of neurons and synapses the brain can process and store vast amounts of information simultaneously, using only a few tens of watts of power. Conventional computers can't come close to this sort of performance.”
Fellow researcher C David Wright said the faster conventional computers have become, the more power they use – adding that they are also “quite dumb”, with none of the in-built learning and parallel processing capabilities of the human brain.
Wright said: “We tackle both of these issues here – by developing not only new brain-like computer architectures, but also by working in the optical domain to leverage the huge speed and power advantages of the upcoming silicon photonics revolution.”
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council supported work on the project.
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